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New cases hit fresh high of over 36,000 amid relentless omicron spread

Medical workers carry out rapid antigen tests at a COVID-19 testing station in Seoul on Friday, when the country reported 27,443 new cases. (Yonhap)
Medical workers carry out rapid antigen tests at a COVID-19 testing station in Seoul on Friday, when the country reported 27,443 new cases. (Yonhap)
South Korea's daily virus cases exceeded 30,000 for the first time to hit another all-time high of over 36,000 on Saturday amid fast spread of the omicron variant after a holiday season.

The country reported 36,362 new COVID-19 infections, including 36,162 local cases, raising the total to 971,018, according to the Korea Disease Control and Prevention Agency.

The latest figure is a whopping increase of nearly 9,000 from the previous daily record of 27,443 reported on Friday.

New infections have spiked drastically in recent days, breaking the 20,000 mark for the first time Wednesday, just a week after it topped 10,000 daily cases on Jan. 26. New daily cases have soared by nearly five-fold in the past two weeks.

Health authorities have warned that the three-day Lunar New Year holiday, which ended Wednesday, could send virus cases to new heights in the weeks to come with daily infections possibly reaching 100,000.

On Friday, South Korea decided to extend the current social distancing curbs for two more weeks through Feb. 20, under which private gatherings of more than six people are banned and businesses are subject to a 9 p.m. curfew. (Yonhap)
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